National Identities among Israelis and Palestinians: A discourse analysis of how representatives for Israeli and Palestinian NGOs relate to national identities, in relation to the conflict between them and the settlement thereof
The world is amidst accelerating processes of globalization increasingly emphasizing univer-sal human rights and common human-ness. Parallel, nationalistic movements and values grow stronger. Universal and nationalistic values are expressed simultaneously in the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. On the basis of semi-structured interviews, this study explores how representatives from Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organizations working for a settlement between Israelis and Palestinians, relate to national identity among Israelis and Palestinians, in relation to discourses of nationalism and universalism, in the context of the conflict between them, and the settlement thereof. This is done by a discourse analysis of how national identity is discursively constructed among the respondents, and what political conse-quences this entails, in relation to a settlement. The narratives and identities of the respondents are characterized by both nationalistic and universal values. One discourse highlights national identity, correlating with the national struggle of the two states solution. Othering is strongly prevalent, particularly towards set-tlers. Another discourse underlines universal human rights and common human-ness, which politically translates into the civil rights struggle of the one state solution. Israelis and Palestinians have distinct national identities. However, there is a need for a common identity able to embrace the common human-ness, while simultaneously nursing the specific Israeli and Palestinian identities. Israeli Palestinians could be seen as forerunners in this process as many of them already have dual identities, transgressing the strict lines of the national identities expressed in nationalistic discourses.